Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Already Begun, Part 4
So we are no longer carefree youths. God is growing us up. We have come to understand that His way will not be smooth. The faith we grabbed with such exuberance has brought testing that stripped us bare.The hard news has joined hands with the good news.
Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?--Job 2:10
This series has been about understanding that we are part of a story already begun, and a story moved forward both in heaven and on earth by the progression of our lives. Part 1 put our ongoing story into perspective in the face of a new calendar year, Part 2 reminded us that Christ borders our initial life with Him with obedience, and Part 3 brought the sometime-unwelcome news that any growth we experience brings hard times, and with them, sufficient grace.
God has a reason for bursting our bubble. He strips earthly comforts to accomplish our readiness for grace. As the discipline of trial is a gift from God, so is the grace He gives to see it through. We cannot gain grace without accepting trial.
But the trouble that purifies has special qualities. This trouble is not a minor annoyance. Like fire, it is a flesh-destroying terror.
This terror, this destruction of flesh, is the gift God gives to those who follow Him.
Grace brings relief by transferring the burden to Christ, but ease is not its purpose. Life's shattering trials and the grace that accompanies them are the doors through which we must walk to holiness.
Now that you have been set free from sin and become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness and the result is eternal life.--Romans 6:22
The climax of our part of this world's story nears.
God did not make men to make them happy. He did not make us for comfort or pleasure. God made men to be like Him.
So, He gives us humanity, then hammers on His gift until it resembles His own image. The beating leaves us torn and needy, needy enough to give up and accept the grace that relieves and thus the holiness that brings us to the place by the Lord's side for which He created us.
But God is still not done yet.
See Part 5.